What I am most often asked by ladies is, “How do I deal with the guilt of taking time for myself?” They want to know how to justify being away from loved ones, or putting themselves first sometimes. It is also a topic women want to know more about, when I ask for column ideas from my class.
The word selfish has such an ugly ring to it. From the time we can walk and talk, we are told not to be selfish. Sharing, giving the right amount, not taking too much… it all is in relation to not being selfish.
Well I want to tell you, being a little selfish is not always a bad thing. I tell ladies that you have to make time for yourself to be healthier. In my case it may seem easier because I make time for class because it is my living, but honestly, it may be sometimes, more difficult.
There are times when my daughter needs me to stay home. I don’t mean she wants me to stay, she needs me to stay. She requires her mom at the exact moment I am supposed to walk out the door to be on time to teach class.
Emma, my five-year-old, as I am kissing her goodbye, sneakers in hand, says she needs me to stay. She clings to me, begging me to not go. It takes everything I have, to look at her and say, “Emma, Mommy has a job to do, and I have to go,” silently praying she won’t ask again. Sometimes she does let me go, and other times, she holds tighter and begs. As a mom, I quickly make some contingency plans. Maybe if she comes with me, she can colour in the corner, or maybe if I promise to call and talk all the way to class… but the one thing that does not cross my mind, is to cancel class. I have to go. It is not an option. Not because I get paid, but because that is what I do as a mother. I teach my girl that a job is something you have to do.
Emma knows that I go teach class, she knows I won’t cancel because she wants me to stay. I do not think it’s mean that she knows that, I think it teaches her job ethics, and having to stick with things.
Now when someone is judging you, they may say hurtful things such as, “You are choosing your class over her.” Or, ”How can you be so mean to leave her crying?” or a classic is, “You work too much, and are not home.”
I am woman, same as you, who needs a healthy stress release. Did you know that when asked, many addicts admit they do what they do to relieve stress in their lives? It is better to take some time each week for yourself to maintain your health, than to bottle it up and eventually possibly grasp negative ways to cope.
Taking time for yourself each week to get outside of your home helps you become a better mother, partner and woman. Being around other women, with like minds, and common goals, is so empowering. No bills, meals, to do lists, just you and the music. Just you, releasing all the week’s stress.
I overheard a woman in my class say the other day to another woman who just started, “It is true, I find I am a better person taking time to come to class. I felt guilty at first but then… when I have time with my kids now, it is quality time. I actually do stuff with them.”
You have to overcome the hurdle of putting yourself first. Many woman are the foundation of their children’s lives, those shoulders have to be strong. They have to be able to sustain all the pressure and crisis our busy lives have to offer.
You have to be the best mother and partner you can be… that does not mean running your body into the ground while putting everyone else first. That means you have to sit down, make a plan, STICK to it. Make your family stick to it. Show the family you are important. It is not selfish to take care of yourself, so you can be healthier and happier.
Please ladies take time for you. Schedule it, and stick to you. Show everyone you are worth it, and most importantly do not let anyone feel guilty for doing so. If someone does try to make you feel selfish, perhaps it is because they secretly wish they could do the same.
You are worth it. Say it again, again.
Kelli Cruikshank is a working resident of Scotsburn who balances being a fitness enthusiast, a mother of three girls and a wife. She can be reached at email@example.com